“…when we do these three things right, invest in education, help invest in jobs here at home, and help care for our most vulnerable then we’re, as a party, standing up for the right values. And that’s the belief that tomorrow is better than today. Folks, that’s what this election is about in two thousand twelve…”
Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (D).
On Saturday night the Cass County Democratic Central Committee hosted their annual back to Blue Dinner in Belton, Missouri. State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (D) was one of the featured speakers:
Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (D): ….You now, I was talking with, uh, a group of folks the other day about, you know, the challenges that we have with our economy both in Missouri and nationally. And I think about the experience that I had growing up. I was the son of a union carpenter, my mom was a hair dresser. And I think about the experiences that I had on the ground, uh, being able to grow up in a neighborhood where we had those middle class opportunities. And guess what? Unions are part of the solution. And they help make that happen [voice: “Right.”] every single day. [applause]…
I also want to just say how proud I am to be here, uh, tonight with Teresa Hensley. Uh, when we think [applause] , when we think about the state of Washington right now, not only is Teresa right on the issues, and that’s really, really important, right, because we have somebody up there right now that is wrong on almost every issue., but on top of that Teresa understands that, that public service , public service is more than about simply winning an election. It’s about actually governing and getting things done. And it’s gonna be great to see her as a leader for our state in Washington. Teresa. [applause]
I’m, I’m really excited to be on the campaign trail again and really excited to come to you and ask for your support, uh, in reapplying for my job as State Treasurer, a job that I really love. And, you know, when I think about these campaigns I, I think it’s important to note that, you know, two big pieces of this. You know, we often think about campaigns in terms of, uh, in terms of TV sets and, and raising lots of money, which, don’t get me wrong, I’d like to have both. But we also know that campaigns in Missouri, campaigns in Missouri are won and lost by just a few votes, by just a few votes. You know, in my first election in two thousand two when I was running for the state House, uh, we won that election by just sixty seven votes out of fourteen thousand cast. Now, that was the impact that folks made back then in two thousand two and now I’m serving as State Treasurer. But now, the challenge is upon us to also remember that that same opportunity exists for candidates like Teresa [Hensley] and Chris [Koster] and other candidates all around this state, to have that same opportunity to make sure that we understand that as individuals we can make an impact when we all work together on the journey ahead.
And, and the second piece of these campaigns, and I think this is really important right now, more than ever in our country, is that the way we campaign and the way we behave during the campaign, it really matters. And that, first of all, we have to run a campaign that’s based on ethics and integrity, and that’s first and foremost. And if you don’t have that foundation a lot’s gonna fall apart underneath you. But, but the second piece of that is making sure that we campaign in a way that really sets us up to actually govern and get things done. And that’s really what’s been lost the last few years, in terms of these elections, is that investment that you have to make in your campaign and talk about real issues. Talk about how we’re going to bring people together to solve problems that are really, really difficult. And, that is the type of campaign I’m gonna be running.
Now, you know, as Treasurer I get a chance to travel all around the state and meet some pretty amazing people along the way. Uh, and it is a constant reminder that the job we have ahead of us is something that we can get done and we have a responsibility to get done. You know, when I was in Joplin not long, during one of my visits, not long after setting up some satellite services for residents there, uh, I had a chance to, during one of my stays I was at a hotel where there was a man with his five daughters, uh, eating breakfast in the hotel lobby. Now, anybody that’s ever ate breakfast in a hotel lobby with five girls and a waffle machine’s involved you know how hard that is[laughter]. Well, he was doing a great job with this and the girls were doing wonderful. And, had a chance later on that day and saw him swimming with them, uh, in the hotel pool and visited with a hotel employee and learned that he had just lost his wife, uh, and his daughters their mother in that terrible storm. And when you think about that experience it reminds us that the job we have is a serious one. But the job we have and the problems we face, they’re not as tough as the problems that that man faced that day. And we have a responsibility to stand up and get things done. And if it’s an election year, that’s no excuse not to get things done. If it doesn’t fit into your partisan ideology, that’s not an excuse not to get things done. We need to stand up and get to work. [applause]
Now, now, I was really disappointed, the Republicans did finally find a candidate to run against me. [laughter] And, and I’ll tell you, this, this is a fellow that has some difficulty grasping the challenges and the seriousness of, of this job and our responsibility. Uh, you know, when he announced he said, I don’t have any problems with the work that, that Clint’s been doing, but, this sounds like a kind of interesting idea to run. [laughter] And a way to fulfill some responsibility to his party. And, he said his campaign strategy has three key points. First of all, he’s gonna ride the Republican wave. Secondly, he’s gonna, quote, go where the votes are, whatever that means. [laughter] And, and, third, he’s actually just gonna focus on campaigning on his dad’s name ID in St. Louis. Now, when he came into the Missouri House he formed a legislative committee. Remember, he came into the House the same time I came into my work as State Treasurer, a difficult time in the economy. Unemployment was beginning to zoom up to what nearly was ten percent. He formed a legislative committee, chaired it, and the work that he focused on was regulating the color of margarine and how cabooses operate. [laughter] Now, that’s sort of like cleaning out your closet when your house is on fire. You, you’re missing the point. And during that he has not had one idea, nor during this, on how to improve our state, how to make it better. What is he going to do as State Treasurer to improve the job, to improve our lives here in Missouri, to better manage tax dollars.
Now I took office during a crisis and it was a crisis that was deeper than any of us ever expected. It was deeper than any of us expected. And before taking office I worked with both sides, Republicans and Democrats, to provide stability for our investment portfolio, to protect that four billion dollars that I manage, to make sure that we continue to invest capital in farms and small business across our state during a difficult time, and to make sure that we continue to help families save for college. Now, we did those things during tough times and actually got results. That four billion dollars that we manage? That’s money that Missourians, we’ve kept safe, we’ve kept it secure. Other states, by the way, have created burdens for the next generation. Other small towns and municipalities have, have actually gone bust. But, not under my watch. We’ve kept your money safe and secure. We are one of only nine states in the nation that has a triple A credit rating from all three m
ajor rating agencies. [applause] And, we took that a step further and we said, you know, part of growing our economy is making sure that we invest in our assets, small business and agriculture is part of our solution. We’ve invested now one billion dollars, including a hundred and twenty-five right here in the region into small businesses that have touched sixteen thousand jobs and farms since I’ve come into office.
And we all know how important education is, is a, is a key piece of this. Uh, we have a college savings plan in Missouri now, a college savings plan that’s ranked number six in terms of low cost and number one in terms of performance. We’re a leader now. Other states are calling us to ask what they can do to improve their college savings plan. [applause] And, and even the Republican State Auditor, the Republican State Auditor said, guess what, Clint Zweifel is doing an excellent in his administration. Only the third agency out of the entire state, a hundred and fifty audits, to get such a rating. You can clap. [applause]
So, it’s a reminder that, you know, that those things aren’t about politics, they’re about getting things done. And in this state, making sure that we believe and we invest in the belief and the value that politics should be the art of the possible. It’s about the idea of creating the opportunities for our kids in education to better themselves, whether it’s going to a community college or a trade school or an apprenticeship program or a university so that they have those opportunities. But also to make sure that we reinvest inside our state and our infrastructure so that there are jobs here for them to keep them here at home. And then finally, making care, making sure that we care for our most vulnerable so that they don’t fall through the cracks during some of the most difficult times.
You know, last year I, after twenty-four months, I championed a proposal in our state’s housing commission, uh, that began to really touch the issue of homeless, homelessness in Missouri. Uh, we have twenty-four thousand homeless Missourians on any given night. And of that twenty-four thousand, sixteen thousand are children with an average age of eight. Five thousand are our veterans who are returning home and not yet really have the stability to find a place to call their own.
We know have, so we looked at that problem. We met with veterans organizations, met with lots of folks in the mental health community and said, we have a housing commission that should be able to do more than that. We now have the states’ leading housing commission in terms of its commitment to veterans, children aging out of the foster care, and those who are suffering from chronic homelessness to actually provide a safe place for them to call home and supportive services to top. That’s good news for Missouri. [applause]
And one of those people that I had a chance to meet on that journey, her name was [xxxxxxx] and I can tell her story. She was on the street for more than a year and was homeless for even longer than that time period. Uh, [xxxxxx] was raped while she was on the streets, she was in a wheel chair, uh, and she had lost the basic hope that all of us take for granted, right, that sense of optimism that tomorrow’s gonna be better than today. Um, she happened to find an agency that was doing some of this good work that we’ve helped support. Uh, she got back on her feet. She now has a bachelor’s degree, she’s working on her CPA, and she’s a resource advocate helping other individuals care for these, care, care and improve their lives.
So it’s a reminder that when we do these three things right, invest in education, help invest in jobs here at home, and help care for our most vulnerable then we’re, as a party, standing up for the right values. And that’s the belief that tomorrow is better than today. Folks, that’s what this election is about in two thousand twelve.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your State Treasurer. [applause] Thank you so much.